Ometepe is an island in southwest Nicaragua’s vast Lake Nicaragua. It’s known for its twin volcanoes. The active Concepción Volcano is in the island’s north. The Concepción is Nicaragua’s second highest volcano and one of the most perfectly shaped volcanos of the Americas. The island is less touristy than other popular Nicaraguan destinations, therefore makes for a perfect destination. Tourism on Ometepe is picking up and a new kind of traveler mingles with the usual backpacker on his Central-America journey. Eco-tourism is very popular on Isla Ometepe which in 2010 was designed as a Biosphere Reserve by the UNESCO.
Best Time to Visit
Visiting Ometepe in November – April. Nicaragua’s dry season begins in November, when the majority of places enjoy dry, sunny days and mild temperatures.
Top Places to Visit in Ometepe
1. Charco Verde
Lagoon Charco Verde is a perfect spot to enjoy a sunny and hot afternoon. Here you will find a beautiful quiet beach, several relaxing stopping points and many howler monkeys.There are several different walks you can take depending on your mood. The easiest will take you around the lagoon, perfect relaxing walk after a busy day of hiking the day before.
2. The Butterfly Sanctuary
Located just past the entrance to Charco Verde, the butterfly reserve is home to many Nicaraguan butterflies. Enjoy quiet time observing these beautiful creatures. You can ask the staff about different butterflies and learn a great deal about them. There is a small entrance fee to enjoy the sanctuary and walk around the Charco Verde. There is no need for a guided tour, and you can simply get here on scooter or motorbike.
3. Ojo de Agua
About 2 km from Santo Domingo lies La Ojo de Agua natural springs. With a restaurant on-site and a chilling area shaded by the forest, it is a perfect spot to relax for the day. There is also a beautiful walking trail if you are keen to explore the surroundings. To avoid the crowds, arrive early morning or late afternoon. There is an entry fee.
4. The San Ramon Waterfall
Located on the southern slopes of volcano Maderas, the 64-meter tall waterfall is most impressive in the winter. It takes about 3 hrs walk round trip to the waterfall. The first 2 km trail is mostly paved, the last kilometre turns into an actual hike up through some mud and rocks. The hike is a must regardless of your fitness level. The waterfall hike is one of the best things to do in Ometepe island in winter.
5. The Maderas Volcano
There are two volcanoes on Ometepe, the active Conception and dormant Maderas. To hike either of the volcanoes, you will need a guide. It isn’t advisable to hike up on your own. Today, the truncated cone of the Maderas is covered in thick cloud forest. The cloud forest shelters a diverse floral and faunal life, including howler and capuchin monkeys, many birds, butterflies, amazing orchids and ferns. Because of its ecological and archeological importance most of the Maderas side of the island has been designated a UNESCO biosphere reserve. At the top, you will, be rewarded with the opportunity to swim in the beautiful and so refreshing crater lake.
There’s no way you can miss a sunset on Ometepe. Every evening the sky turns beautifully pink at sunset. Go down to the beach to watch the clouds over the volcano changing colours. Wet or dry season, you will experience a stunning sunset here.